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Culture News

This Is the Museum Black People Should’ve Already Had

Disrespect is often the impetus for making history. For the first time in U.S. history, Black people’s contributions to American music will be the sole focus of a new museum, The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville. The fact that sentence is true in the year 2020 is a slap in the face to the slaves from centuries ago whose hymns were stolen to create music genres dominated by white people. Even recently, Jalaiah Harmon had her Renegade dance co-opted by white TikTok influencers. 

The idea for the museum first germinated in 1998 and has raised $60 million since 2002. The NMAAM will be a 56,000-square-foot experiential museum housing 25 interactive displays and 1,500 artifacts that piece together the story of African Americans’ indelible mark on the tapestry of American musical culture. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’s long hooded jacket, bodysuit, shorts and high-top sneakers will be on display, along with Nat King Cole’s Argyle sweater, Whitney Houston’s leopard print dress made by Christian Dior and hundreds of other pieces of music history.

Ethnomusicologist Dina Bennett is the museum’s senior curator and is responsible for helping curate the artifacts and experiences the museum will use to educate the masses. Henry Beecher Hicks III is the president and CEO, who joined the board in 2010 and became the CEO in 2013. Besides the cement and funding, the museum was founded on this belief that the history of American music hasn’t been wholly told without the proper canonization of African American art.

“Despite the fact [that] hip-hop and R&B are the biggest genres of music in the world today, too often we don’t pay attention to how significant the African American contribution has been to American music overall,” Hicks told ONE37pm. “We’re not focusing on a particular genre, artist or label. We’re really going back through American history and saying, ‘Let’s help the American public understand how critical African American contributions have been to American music since the 1600s.” 

The museum plans to open in early September with grand-opening plans slated to be announced in the spring. Museum membership is currently available on the NMAAM website for $25 for seniors and students and going up. 

ONE37pm spoke with Hicks and Bennett about which parts of African American history showcased in the museum are seldom told, the celebrities who helped bring the museum to fruition and how exactly hip-hop will factor into the museum.

Provided by National Museum of African American Music

ONE37pm: The museum will have over 1,500 artifacts. How did you decide which ones to use?

Bennett: We assembled a scholarly advisory committee of various scholars around the world who have different specializations in different genres of music. From that committee, we were able to develop a storyline and narrative for the museum. That storyline and that narrative drove our search for artifacts and objects to help tell the story. This is a museum that is the first of its kind and is based on the history of the creation of the American soundtrack and how African Americans have influenced and impacted music. We start from the 1600s, and we work up to present-day, and we talk about all of the music in between. So, jazz, spiritual, funk, soul, gospel, R&B, and hip op. It’s all there.

Which celebrities have helped the museum either in funding, donation or promotion?

Hicks: The museum currently had a collection of musical greats who serve as national chairs of our board of directors, including India Arie, Keb’Mo, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans. NFL legend Eddie George and his wife Taj [of R&B group SWV] serve as chairs of our Legends Society, one of the largest donor groups local to Nashville. Country music star Vince Gill also serves as a co-chair of the Legends Society.

How long did it take you to get these artifacts?


Bennett: Oh, dear. The last five years we’ve been collecting. We have a series of donations. We have loans from other institutions that we are partnering with. We’ve also been able to purchase items from auctions and from estate sales. Right now, we have them housed at the Country Music Hall of Fame, one of our dearest supporters. When we move into our building and we open, all objects and artifacts will come with us. We’ll rotate them out year to year and continue to tell our story with new and fresh artifacts.

As you mentioned, this is the first museum of its kind. What is something this museum will highlight about African Americans’ contribution to music that you feel is seldom discussed?

Bennett: We have a trombone from Helen Jones Wood, a member of an all-female jazz orchestra International Sweethearts of Rhythm who toured the world in the 1940s. Their origin is in Piney Woods, Mississippi. We are very happy to display that in our Love Supreme gallery, which tells the history of jazz. We’re very happy to point out that females were very much involved in the music tradition, especially in jazz. I don’t think that always comes across.

How will hip-hop factor into the museum?

Bennett: We’ll have a hip-hop gallery called The Message. It’s featured quite prominently, especially since it’s one of the genres that are popular and has such a long history of its own. We definitely have taken the time to curate a really great hip-hop gallery. 

How did you come up with the interactive elements of the museum?

Bennett: The museum’s curatorial team is working with Nashville-based 1220 Exhibits to fabricate the gallery space and more than 25 interactive touchpoints. 1220 Exhibits has created dynamic exhibits for museums all over the country. Their creative team works jointly with the museum to pair the content narrative with a fun and engaging experience within each gallery. Each experience explores a unique attribute of that genre, such as the “call and response” of gospel music or the “beat sampling” of hip-hop.

Provided by National Museum of African American Music

What are you planning to do in the meantime to raise awareness for a museum that has never existed before?

Hicks: Educational programming is a big part of what we’re doing at the museum. There will be youth education locally in the schools here in Nashville. There will also be educational programming through digital partners around the country and world. We’ll do this celebration we do annually called the Celebration of Legends. We’ll celebrate that for the seventh year this coming May. Those are the kinds of things we’ll do to make sure the story is told.

How will the museum evolve over time?

Hicks: The museum’s seventh gallery is rotating exhibit space. We will open with a temporary exhibit about the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Fisk University. Periodically, this gallery will be switched out to feature a variety of other subjects, and it will also give the museum an opportunity to showcase some of the additional artifacts within 1,500-plus collection.

Mr. Hicks, in a statement, applauded Sean Combs’ recent criticism of the Grammys’ treatment of Black art, stating that the NMAAM will “remind America and the Recording Academy that Black music matters.” What did you mean by “Black music matters”?


Hicks: One of the common phrases in the museum is “My Music Matters.” I often challenge people to ask their friend or their neighbor to name two or three songs that they are most excited about. Two out of three are going to be some type of Black music. We do commend Sean Combs for speaking out in that regard. The ironic thing is we’re right here. He threw down the gauntlet and said the Grammys has 365 days to get better, and he wants to help them. But, a part of that might be our institution. About at the halfway point of his 365-day challenge, we will open. We are here to celebrate and tell the stories to make the point that Sean Combs was making. We just want to be part of the conversation and be a support of both Sean and the Grammys, as they seek to adjust some of their processes in the way they acknowledge art and artist.

Categories
Culture Music

G Herbo Has a Message for All Music Fans in His Upcoming Project

When conversations of who the hottest young lyricist in the game is right now are being discussed, you automatically have to know that G Herbo’s name is going to be mentioned. “SwerVo,” as his die-hard fans call him, has been making street bangers ever since his classic debut Welcome to Fazoland in 2014.

Fast-forward to 2020, and Herbo’s career has elevated to higher heights, and he is now ready to introduce a new side of him that no one has experienced. G Herbo just released his fifth studio project titled PTSD.

Sarah Jacobs// ONE37pm

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that often triggers terrifying flashbacks due to events that a person experienced or witnessed in the past. Herbo discussed living with PTSD in one of our latest “11 Takes” visual series. From witnessing violence and drug addiction in his neighborhood in the streets of Chicago, Herbo decided to use this project as an outlet to open up to fans about his condition, allowing them to walk in his shoes and get introduced to the world in his eyes.

The album will feature some of hip-hop’s biggest names such as A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Lil Durk, 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, and Juice WRLD.

PTSD is available for streaming on all platforms. 

Categories
Culture News

Go ‘Down the Hatch’ with Barry Flavors and Milk’s Favorite Cookie

You might be saying, “Barry, what’s up with the milk?” Well, on this episode of Down the Hatch with Barry Flavors, the flavor master takes on the most successful selling snack of all time—the Oreo. Over 7.5 billion Oreos are consumed every year, and Nabisco has been churning out milk’s favorite cookie since 1912. Whether you prefer a Double Stuf or a classic, there’s an Oreo flavor for everyone. And in this episode, Barry puts some of the wackier flavors to the test.

He starts the episode with Nabisco’s play on a classic dessert, the carrot cake. Barry praises the Carrot Cake Oreos for their realistic flavor replication, but his distaste for the cookie certainly impacts his review: “It’s a cake made of vegetables. What kid wants to fuck with that?”

The flavor king then dives into something a little more indulgent, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreo. And despite his many feelings regarding the term pie’s malleability as a term (“anything could be pie, and pie, at the same time, is also everything”), these cookies also go swiftly down the hatch. He follows the pie-Oreo creation with Oreo’s Baskin Robbins collab: the Mint Chocolate Chip Oreo. Barry has some polarizing opinions on mint chip ice cream, so you’ll have to check out the episode to see where he stands.

Mr. Flavors then tastes a Maple Creme Oreo (“I like the golden cookie”), and gives it a classic Down the Hatch style review: “They just smell like maple and Vermont and, like, the wind.” The next Oreo on the plate is the Mega Stuf, but he ultimately rejects this taste test (a DTH first). You’ll have to watch the clip to find out why the taste aficionado decides that Mega Stuf Oreos will not go down the hatch.

Barry closes the episode with the mystery-flavor Oreo, a welcome challenge for a self-proclaimed flavor master. “Who better to identify this flavor than the flavor guru himself? I might have the only palate on Earth who can solve the caper.” To find out what he guesses, check out Barry in all his splendor at the link above.

If you loved this episode and want to watch Barry try more tasty treats, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he took on John Brown Smokehouse.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Tristan Walker Talks Black Entrepreneurship, Bevel and His Plans for the Future

Equality is often mistaken for homogeneity when, in fact, homogeneity is often the antithesis of true equality—true equality isn’t the removal of differences but an acceptance of them.

Tristan Walker launched Bevel in 2013 through his Walker & Company Brands because he felt the razors on the market didn’t address the coarse and curly hair typical for Black men. Those curly crowns tend to be dry due to the curl shape, and the body’s natural oils have a harder time reaching the end of the hair. Seven years after founding the company, Bevel is expanding from shaving products to a new 11-piece line of full-body care products tailored for Black people’s skin.

“I started a company not to make shaving products. I started a company to build a brand that’s going to be trusted by Black men in the U.S. In order to do that, we had to be in skin, hair and body,” Walker told ONE37pm. “In all these categories, I did not see a brand prioritizing our needs first.”

Three years and more than $25 million in investments from the likes of Google Ventures and John Legend after launching Bevel, the brand’s products began being stocked in 1,000 Target retail stores in 2016. Walker tells us the Bevel brand’s retail imprint has since grown tenfold with its line of products, which can be purchased in over 10,000 retail locations across America. During that growth, Walker sold Walker & Company to Procter & Gamble (P&G), the 183-year-old personal hygiene goliath, in December 2018. Walker but maintained a level of autonomy by staying on as the CEO of Walker & Company Brands rather than assuming a title at P&G. 

“We wanted to work with a company that would help us ensure that we were around for the next 150 years,” he said. “We wanted to work with a company that already spent billions of dollars on research and development that we can bring to our consumers. We wanted to show our consumers that we weren’t going to slow down.”

Bevel hasn’t publicly disclosed its sales, and Walker declined to provide any information about sales. But the cultural impact is indisputable. Nas boasted achieving his “signature fade with the Bevel blade” on DJ Khaled’s “Nas Album Done” in 2017. NBA players have sworn by the razors, including the NBA’s Style Correspondent Lance Fresh. ONE37pm spoke with Walker recently about his thoughts on the future of Black entrepreneurship, how athletes have embraced Bevel and more.

Bigger Budget for Black

Walker traded complete independence for the expertise and connections P&G has accumulated over its 183 years. P&G also helped put Walker in rooms he hadn’t been in. One of those rooms has a man Walker considers “the world expert in deodorant” discussing the aluminum-free/natural deodorant market. That’s where Walker and his team found themselves in early 2019, two weeks after the acquisition, ready to use their seat at the table to shake it.

“One of the things I asked was, ‘How do we apply what we have here to the needs of Black men?’ Within two weeks, we established a breakthrough—an aluminum-free deodorant that lasts 48 hours, penetrates our hair type better than anything out in the market, and doesn’t leave any streaks,” Walker said.

Along with not lasting long and clumping up in men’s armpits, Walker reasons that aluminum-free deodorants have a history of being particularly adverse to Black men’s hair and “might not penetrate our hair type.” Now, Bevel is selling an aluminum-free deodorant with 48-hour protection that leaves no residue, all while keeping the armpits of Black men smelling fresh. 

“The research I did was the past 30 years of my life just being a Black man,” Walker said. “I had dry skin. I want a lotion that I don’t have to reapply every single day. I have coarse, curly hair. I wanted a solution to eliminating razor bumps.”

Bevel’s new line of products includes a shampoo, beard softener and conditioner free of the sulfate found in most commercially available shampoos that dry out hair. Bevel also has body lotion and body wash made with argan oil, commonly found in North Africa, rich in vitamin E and strong enough to moisturize Black people’s skin. The rest of the new line of products are engineered with Black people’s skin in mind, and ironically, that very skin almost precluded Bevel’s existence.

Black Money Struggles

The 2010 Venture Capital Human Capital Report showed less than 1 percent of funded startups had Black founders. More than half of business loan applications from Black people were turned down in 2014, according to the Federal Reserve, more than twice the rate of white applicants. Even though Walker was able to raise tens of millions of dollars in Bevel’s first few years, he felt the implicit racism. 

“The pace at which we’re able to raise money with me being a Black man is slower than the pace of non-Black men. Also, the interpretation of what we’re doing from the people who have the money to give it. If those people don’t respect the diversity of the consumer you serve, you’re going to have an uphill battle. So, most of it is implicit and not explicit,” Walker said. 

Being acquired by P&G helped him remove the constraints of fundraising and understand what ownership truly meant. “The merger allowed me to have a little bit more freedom,” Walker said. “I knew I felt free, but I didn’t really understand what freedom meant; not having to owe investors anything or owe other people anything.”

The Culture
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Popular culture has begun to embrace Bevel. Before the NBA All-Star break in February, Inside the NBA hosts Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson sat in barber chairs and showcased the new line of Bevel products while fellow co-host Kenny Smith explained Bevel’s benefits. “My understanding is they all have and use the trimmers. Kenny reached out and said they’re going to be doing some great stuff during the All-Star Game and whether or not we could help sponsor the event and help him” Walker explains.

Beyond TV shoutouts, NBA players Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony via his Melo7 Tech Partners venture capital fund, and NBA legend Magic Johnson are athletes who have invested in the company. Interestingly enough, Bevel shows how we’re all united in skin and hair, regardless of social or financial stratification.

“The interesting about athletes and celebrities, many of who have already promoted us, they shop for these things in the same places we do,” Walker said. “There’s no specialty retailer for Black celebrities. These guys are shopping at Target, CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Sephora and all of that. They were equally excited there’s a brand that supports their needs.”

Early on in Bevel’s life, Walker knew the brand’s purpose was deeper than the roots of Black hair. Six months before he sold a single product, he launched Bevel Code, an online platform that focuses on grooming tips specifically for Black men, as well as interviews and articles about the totality of the Black experience. You can get the story behind Nas’s iconic half-moon haircut and learn about classic hairstyle moments in hip-hop history on Bevel Code. 

“It’s not only products that we’re selling. It’s a lifestyle we’re getting people interested in,” Walker said.

Future of Black Entrepreneurship

Guidant Financial and Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA) companies surveyed 3,100 small business and franchise owners nationwide for a look into Black-owned businesses in 2020. At the time of the survey’s publication, the results revealed 72 percent of Black-owned businesses are profitable and have 23 percent more women as business owners than the average of the survey. The future of black entrepreneurship is bright, but Walker wants to make sure this growth isn’t transient. 

“I’m hopeful it’s not a trend. Fortunately, we’ve seen a lot more folks owning their stuff. We have folks like me, the Tyler Perrys of the world, and the Diddys of the world showing people that it’s really possible,” Walker says. “I think over the next ten years it’s only going to be a lot more. With our social influence, spending power, and our continued relevance, people are going to have to wake up.”

Walker isn’t just going to hope the continued growth in Black entrepreneurship—he’s going to help ensure it. Bevel recently announced it will cover the costs of college tours, college application fees and college test prep fees for Chicago nonprofit organization Urban Prep Academies’ classes of 2020 and 2021. Walker has his eyes on the future and trajectory-wise, he sees his career mirroring director Tyler Perry’s.

“Tyler Perry is a hustler. He was homeless, and now he’s one of the highest-paid people in Hollywood. He has a tribe of people that want to see him succeed,” Walker said. “I’m from Queens, grew up in the projects, had a wonderful education, I care about ownership and we have a tribe of people that wants me to succeed.”

Categories
Sneakers Style

This Week’s Top 5 Sneaker Drops You Should Know

We love sneakers. From the latest collaborations to retro kicks that bring you back to your first pair, we know that feeling when you open the box and inhale that brand-new smell. So we’re rounding up the best and most highly anticipated sneakers every week. Let’s get started.

This week’s recap has some sleepers and undeniable must-haves. Travis Scott and Nike team up once again for another great pair. LeBron James and soon-to-be teammate Bugs Bunny come together on LeBron’s signature line. Yeezy is back at it again with arguably one of the best adidas Yeezy Boost 700 colorways to date. And finally, classic Nike models such as the Air Max 90 and the Air Streak Lite are set to start things off for the month of March. 

Be sure to tune in next week as we expect the rest of the month of March to be filled with heat.

1. Nike React Vision “Honeycomb”
Nike

Date: Feb. 22

Price: $160

SNKRS and select retailers

LeBron James and Bugs Bunny are cooking up a Nike LeBron 17 Low that brings the iconic cartoon character to the hardwood (and soon the shelves). The low-top iteration of the LeBron 17 features an Air Max unit for maximum comfort along with a Swoosh with rabbit-like hair for that extra detail that makes the shoe live up to its name. The pair is yet another drop inspired by the upcoming Space Jam 2 film. Hopefully, we see Nike and the Tune Squad team up again.

2. Nike Dunk Low “Plum”
adidas

Date: Feb. 28

Price: $220

Adidas.com and select retailers

The upcoming adidas Yeezy Boost 700 MNVN gets a colorful makeover as the pair is set to drop before the end of the month. Aside from its bright orange that easily draws your attention, the upper also features a loud “700” printed across the pair. The lettering is dipped in reflective fashion for a nice contrast of the orange upper and black midsole.

3. Nike Flight 89
Nike

Date: Feb. 29

Price: $150

Select retailers

La Flame and Nike SB might just have one of the best drops to date as the iconic skateboarding silhouette gets the Cactus Jack look. The pair features a multitude of patterns with brown, beige and blue hues taking over the canvas. If you’re looking to grab a pair of the latest Travis Scott x Nike installation, be sure to head over to your local skate shop as the pair is rumored to not drop on SNKRS.

4. Air Jordan 1 Hi 85 “Varsity Red”
Nike

Date: Mar. 1

Price: $120

SNKRS and select retailers

The classic Air Max 90 gets a classic colorway to start the month of March. The AM90 celebrates 30 years worth of colorways, stories and drops as one of Tinker Hatfield’s creations has transcended from a performance running shoe to a lifestyle staple. The pair features the traditional mesh upper paired with suede accents. A pop of turquoise takeover the heel, outsole and other aspects of the shoe.

5. Strangelove x Nike SB Dunk Low
Nike

Date: Mar. 1

Price: TBD

Nike.com and select retailers

The classic Nike Air Streak Lite is coming back as the silhouette was a hallmark in the 1990s as the pair was a member of Nike’s inaugural Japanese creation team. The upcoming pair is set to drop in OG fashion with a primarily white upper, blue accents for the suede and a gold Swoosh to really bring the pair together. Hopefully, this means we’re getting more ‘90s classics from Nike.

Categories
Gaming New Releases

Our Wishlist for the Upcoming ‘Resident Evil 8’

Resident Evil is currently in the midst of a comeback streak.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard took a huge gamble by switching the series’ 3rd-person viewpoint to a 1st-person variation. With the help of the game’s creepy atmosphere, intriguing plotline, and a great mix of battles against night terrors and nail-biting stealth segments, that gamble paid off handsomely. The remake of Resident Evil 2 successfully modernized a classic and gave fans a return to the 3rd-person gunplay/adventuring they’ve become so accustomed to. And soon, we’re set to get a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis that comes packaged with the multiplayer side game Resident Evil: Resistance.

To say that things are looking up for Capcom’s survival horror franchise would be an understatement. Now everyone is looking towards the future of the series and hoping to get any type of official news about the 8th mainline entry. The gaming rumor mill recently went crazy about that very game, and they sound insane (in a good way, though).

Now, these juicy tidbits of information seem to have been linked to a version of the game that is no longer in development, but they’re still interesting nonetheless. So RE7’s Ethan Winters was said to be returning alongside Chris Redfield to take on the undead, werewolf-like creatures, and an invisible entity whose stalking behavior would keep players unhinged throughout much of the game.

Now that it appears as if Capcom has gone back to the drawing board for the next Resident Evil, those ideas may still be implemented or changed altogether. If Capcom is willing to hear us out for a moment, we’d like to offer some ideas of our own that could make their next horror-tinged project a memorable one.

Keep the 1st-Person Viewpoint
Capcom

One of the best aspects of RE7 is its focus on a 1st-person camera. The tense atmosphere of the entire campaign was magnified due to the fact that you witnessed plenty of heart-stopping moments from Ethan’s point of view. That viewpoint change was even more horrifying with the addition of virtual reality functionality, which was definitely a winning formula for anyone who played the game for themselves. 

Capcom shouldn’t abandon this newly implemented feature–they should return to it and find new ways to raise our heart rate. Gunning down monsters, solving puzzles and hauling ass from all sorts of bio-weaponized horrors works so much better from a 1st-person viewpoint. Leave the 3rd-person camera feel for future remakes, we say.

Include More Variations of the Mold and All New B.O.W.’s
Capcom

Now we have to point out one of RE7’s weaker features. While the Molded creatures were pretty fun to shoot in the face, there just weren’t enough variations of them to run into. With just four types of Molded to deal with, the regular combat scenarios grew a bit tiresome near the game’s final moments. 

In order to combat this issue for the future, Capcom should add in even more versions of the Molded in order to increase the game’s enemy variety. And there’s really no need to return to the tried and true formula for Resident Evil’s classic B.O.W.’s–what the new game sorely needs is all-new enemy types to take down. Slow, lumbering zombies just won’t cut it anymore.

Focus the Story Around Chris Redfield and His Three Most Trusted Allies
Capcom

At the end of RE7, Ethan found a way to rescue his wife Mia and even kept his promise to Zoe by sending her the help she needed. He’s just an all-around good guy. On the personality scale, however, Ethan is pretty dry and uninteresting in that department. He wasn’t unlikeable or annoying in any way, but he was pretty much a blank slate as far as fans were concerned.

Chris Redfield of all people popped up to aid Ethan and looked as if he’d gotten a major makeover. His DLC chapter, Not a Hero, felt like a welcome return to Resident Evil’s usual approach to a mainline adventure, so we obviously want more of that type of scenario. Capcom should consider placing Chris in the main protagonist role, but also give players the option to see his latest mission play out with some familiar faces by his side–Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield and Sheva Alomar. The BSAA organization and newly reformed Umbrella Corporation’s combined efforts would benefit from the work put in by those four agents for good.

Transport Players to Multiple Locations Around the Globe
Capcom

The Baker Family ranch was an incredibly intimidating place that was home to all sorts of interesting locations. Like past RE games, players were treated to an awesome pace that was due in part to fun bouts of progression through each area of the ranch. Now that we know that the BSAA and Umbrella Corporation are out to take down biological weapons-based threats around the world, the next game should allow players to participate in their global missions.

A RE sequel that transports us to all types of horror-movie themed locales would be pretty cool if implemented correctly. One minute, we could be in the middle of exploring a new mysterious mansion. And the next minute, we could fly off to another area altogether that’s set up like a Saw-movie trap dungeon or an underground mine shaft. A campaign that switches off between playable characters and takes us to those new areas sounds good to us.

Bring Back The Mercenaries!
Capcom

RE7’s DLC suite provided players with a slew of entertaining side endeavors. Both volumes of the Banned Footage campaign, the Not a Hero adventure starring Chris and the End of Zoe’s punch-drunk happy experience were all worth the extra dough. But there was still something missing from RE7’s post-game content and fans clearly know what that was – THE MERCENARIES! 

That addictive part of the RE equation is due for a series revival. Bringing it back in the latest release would garner even more goodwill from the game’s healthy fanbase. If it does manage to return, it needs to throw in fan-favorite characters with a few lines of voice acting included, unique map layouts, a dizzying array of weapons to equip and offline/online co-op enabled mechanics. A unique mix of new maps and throwback destinations for the return of The Mercenaries mode is just what the doctor ordered.

Categories
Sports Strength

#RunRichRun: Inside Rich Eisen’s Annual 40-Yard-Dash for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Rich Eisen’s been at this a long time. Running for charity, that is. 

At the 2020 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, the legendary broadcaster and current face of the NFL Network will run his annual 40-yard-dash in the name of charity and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since 2005, Eisen has suited up (literally in his suit), laced up his sneakers and joined the other hopefuls that competed at that year’s combine and run the 40-yard-dash. His time doesn’t really matter, but what he’s running for certainly does.

Ben Liebenberg/Associated Press

Eisen got his start working for the Staten Island Advance before eventually landing at ESPN, where he formed a duo with the legendary Stuart Scott on Sportscenter and provided commentary on the day’s highlights. He covered all sports, but it was clear that talking about professional football was where his career lay in his future. He moved to the NFL Network in 2003 and just a few years after that, the #RunRichRun event got its start. 

Explaining here, the idea for Run Rich Run began with a light-hearted jab and challenge from the legendary running back and Hall of Famer Terrell Davis for Eisen to undertake the 40-yard-dash with the stipulation that he’d run in his suit. The rest is, as they say, history as Eisen has been doing it ever since. Sure, the results may not have always been in Rich’s favor—it’s become somewhat of a tradition to overlay some of the players‘ runs over his, not exactly a great look for him—but it’s about the spirit of the run, rather than the time.

This year, Eisen won’t be running the challenge alone as Marc Lore, the President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce, and Michael Rubin, the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, have also thrown their hat in the ring as well. Lore will be racing against NFL legend Jerry Rice, who will be running in place of Rubin. If Lore comes out on top, Rubin will donate $250,000 to St. Jude in Rice’s name. If Rice wins, then Lore will donate $250,000 to St. Jude.

The hype around this challenge is REAL. Even though this is all for a good cause and in the spirit of competition, that doesn’t mean Lore and Rubin don’t want to win this challenge. In a show of support for either side, you can also make your contribution to either side on the Run Rich Run website, helping either Team Jerry or Team Marc raise the most money for St. Jude. Donations are even being tracked in real-time, so you can even follow along to see which side is raising the most cash.

Founded in 1962 by actor and singer Danny Thomas, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a non-profit research and treatment hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. While much of the facility is dedicated to treating leukemia and various other pediatric cancers, it houses and provides care for patients fighting all diseases. St. Jude is entirely non-profit and relies on charitable contributions from donors, hence Eisen’s #RunRichRun event. 

Donations for the event are open now, and your contributions are needed now more than ever, so be sure to visit the #RunRichRun website and help support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

DONATE NOW
https://runrichrun.pledgeit.org/

UPDATE (3/5): The results are in! How fast did Rich run this time around? Who won the big challenge between Marc and Jerry Rice? Check out the video to find out.

Categories
Culture Music

10 Female Rappers Who Changed the Hip-Hop Game

The contributions of women in hip-hop have been extraordinary—they have broken gender and race barriers, shed light on some of our most poignant yet underrepresented people through visionary storytelling and have continued to force music and culture to evolve and transform.  

Trying to find space in a true boys’ club and integral to a group in which they are still undervalued and marginalized, these ten women have forged the path for women emcees like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj. They have created some of the most truthful pieces of art about their lives, their loves and their struggles, forcing the world to recognize them as multifaceted creatives.

Their stories haven’t always been pretty, but they’ve never been here for that anyway. 

1. Cindy Campbell
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Hip-hop is said to have originated on Aug. 11, 1973, in a rec room of an apartment building in the Bronx. In an effort to make money, a teenage Cindy Campbell decided to throw a party. She reserved the recreation room for $25 and asked her brother, Kool Herc, to DJ the event. She used index cards to create invitations: “.25 for the ladies and .50 for the fellas.” That night, she not only became the first party promoter but is also credited for starting hip-hop. 

2. Sylvia Robinson
Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Sylvia “The Mother of Hip-Hop” Robinson was a multi-hyphenate before multi-hyphenates existed. The singer-musician-producer-Sugar Hill Records founder convinced Tina Turner to record the hit song, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.” She also played guitar on the recording, where she went uncredited, which led to Ike Turner getting the accolades. She produced the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” which went on the serve as a template for rap songs, and pushed for the recording and release of “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Robinson was such a force that she even inspired a powerful female television character: “Cookie Lyon” on Empire.

3. MC Lyte
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No list of hip-hop pioneers is complete without Lana Michelle Moorer, better known as MC Lyte. She came on the scene in 1988 at age 17, when she was featured on the remix of Sinéad O’Connor’s “I Want Your (Hands on Me).” That same year, she released her first album, Lyte as a Rock, the first solo rapper to release her own full-length album. Although MC Lyte has been open about the difficulty in establishing herself as a woman in hip-hop culture, no one could deny her talent; in 1993, she was the first female MC nominated for a Grammy for her single, “Ruffneck.”

4. Salt-N-Pepa
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Some will say it’s not about who did it first, it’s about who did it best,” but what happens when that’s one and the same? Legendary group Salt-N-Pepa (with DJ Spinderella) were the first women to win a Grammy for Best Performance By Duo or Group in 1995, and they remain one of the best-selling rap acts of all time. They were the first female rap group to achieve gold and platinum status with their hit debut album in 1986, Hot, Cool & Vicious while their fourth release, Very Necessary, sold seven million albums, making it not only one of the best-selling rap albums, like, ever, but making Salt-N-Pepa the first female rap act to have multi-platinum selling albums. If that wasn’t enough barriers to break, they are also heavily credited for ushering in a wave of hip-hop feminism that we hear today.

5. Queen Latifah
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Before she was the leading lady of movies like Just Wright and Last Holiday (which, if you know me personally, you know is my favorite movie), and even before she was playing Khadijah James on the beloved sitcom Living Single, Dana Elaine Owens was paving the way for all the rappers-turned-quadruple threats of today. She started off beat-boxing for hip-hop group Ladies Fresh before she started rapping herself; it didn’t take long for Queen Latifah to make a name for herself, thanks to her willingness to explore issues that affected women and members of the Black community. Her song “U.N.I.T.Y” addressed the way hip-hop culture treated women, along with verbal and domestic violence, which won the Queen a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1995.

6. Roxanne Shanté
Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the mid-1980s, a series of rap battle tracks had hit the streets. Known as the Roxanne Wars, 30 to 100 artists responded with their own stories and spin on the tale. The origin of the Roxanne Wars, however, was the song “Roxanne Roxanne” by the hip-hop group UTFO. The song was about a woman who wasn’t interested in their advances; around the same time, UTFO had to cancel a show appearance. Upset at the cancellation, 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden changed her rap name to Roxanne Shante and recorded “Roxanne’s Revenge,” making her one of the first and youngest female battle rappers.

7. Foxy Brown
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

When 15-year-old Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand won a talent contest in Brooklyn, she had no idea about the impression she made on the production duo Trackmasters, in the audience while working on LL Cool J’s album, Mr. Smith. Not too long after they invited Marchand, otherwise known as Foxy Brown, to rap over “I Shot Ya,” Def Jam signed Foxy. Her age and her provocative and distinct style of rapping landed her a spot on the Bad Boy remix of “No One Else” with Lil’ Kim, Da Brat and Total. Foxy Brown’s debut album, Ill Na Na, secured her position in hip-hop notoriety, as it was full of “radio-friendly jams, club bangers and street anthems.”

8. Missy Elliot
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot has reinvented herself time and time again. From song to music video to album, each of her creative endeavors has broken molds and led the way for the female artists who have come after her. She’s sold over 30 million records, has won five Grammys and last year, Missy made history when she became the first female hip-hop artist and third rapper ever to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Fearless with her vision for herself and her music, Missy is responsible for some of the most iconic videos from the past decade: “Pass that Dutch,” “Supa Dupa Fly,” “Work It,” “Get Your Freak On,” “Hot Boyz” and “Sock It to Me.” Missy’s devotion to her craft and originality also allow her to continue trailblazing in other arenas: Earlier this month, it was announced that she had signed onto play a role in the new Cinderella musical.

9. Lauryn Hill
Vince Bucci/AFP via Getty Images

Sometimes an album is so powerful, so impactful—and so strongly received that it secures an artist’s place in hip-hop history—that said artist only needs to make one. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of those albums. Lauryn Noelle Hill was in high school when friend Pras Michel asked her to join a musical group; friend Wyclef Jean joined shortly after— and The Fugees were born. After three years, however, the group broke up, and Hill went on to record her debut album, which showcased her incredible talents and made her the face of neo-soul. The rawness of her lyrics speaking on “themes like love, motherhood, spirituality,” felt fresh and were articulated in a way that wasn’t common at the time; the 1998 album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and went on to win five Grammys.

10. Erykah Badu
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

It seems like Erykah Badu’s biggest superpower is truly knowing herself: from her headwraps, to her incense, to her tea, Badu comes across as a woman cloaked in her own wholeness. Her smoky blues-meets-soul voice is what drove her first album, 1997’s Baduizm, to triple platinum and won her the title of “first woman of neo-soul.” The three-time Grammy-winning artist continues to influence a new generation of music, with her ability to reinvent herself and branch out with new, creative endeavors such as acting, DJing and being the face for a Tom Ford fragrance. As if that wasn’t enough, Badu recently announced that she would be releasing incense that smells like her vagina.

Categories
Culture Music

SauxePaxk TB and DJ E.Sudd Talk Working Hard and What’s to Come in 2020

This week on our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd sits down with rapper SauxePaxkTB and DJ E.Sudd to talk about everything from their hectic touring schedule to Sauxe’s genesis making music. SauxePaxk recently turned 16, but he possesses wisdom well beyond his years. He drops inspirational quotes left and right, often dipping in and out of rap-like flows during a conversation with Boyd and Sudd. They address Sauxe and Sudd’s deep commitment to producing content, what’s to come for the young rapper and Sudd’s best advice from his prolific career as a DJ.

SauxePaxk and Sudd start the interview talking about their hectic touring schedule: multiple shows a day with Sauxe often not sleeping (only taking naps in the Sprinter). The energetic rapper hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has had a commitment to rapping from a young age. “I knew this music shit was it since I was like… seven,” he tells Boyd, adding, “You know how when you were young you had imaginary friends and shit? I had imaginary fans.” He began freestyling when he was six or seven and first started taking it more seriously around 12 or 13. He began recording music in voice memos on his phone, emphasizing the fact that anyone can make music with very few tools. “My shit was bootleg, and I was sharing my links with everybody,” he says. 

Making music comes naturally to Sauxe. “I could do this shit in my sleep. Know what I’m saying? I’ll shit out a bar for you real quick,” he says before laughing. E.Sudd echoes the sentiment with high praise: “I feel he’s a musical genius… Nobody is matching his energy.” They go on to talk about their unorthodox distribution plan, releasing Sauxe’s music on Spinrilla before eventually dropping it to the major streaming platforms. The reason why? “We had to give it to the gang first.”

SauxePaxk’s prowess extends far beyond rap. They have upcoming plans for a movie accompanying his next project, and he sees endless possibilities going forward. Speaking about Sauxe, Sudd says, “Any sea you put this man in, he gonna know how to swim. He gonna swim with the sharks for real.” E.Sudd is part of Street Execs Mgmt, which features 2 Chainz, Young Dolph and tons of other big-time rappers/producers. He says the main thing he’s learned from being a part of the group is “consistency, work hard, being different.” “Every artist I know that’s serious about this, is in the studio every single day,” he says. He prioritizes working hard and the importance of creating your own lane: “You gotta create the strategy.”

They close the interview with Boyd asking Sauxe to shout out some folks on his team who have helped him. He first mentions Sudd (“He brings me to the plate and I eat that motherfucker”) before listing a slew of names, from family to other rappers to friends, members of his team and a lot more. “I’m doing this shit for me, but at the same time, I’m doing this shot for us. My peoples. If I’m eating good, my people eating good,” he tells Boyd. He drops a few more names before goofily saying, “We ain’t even finna do all that, because I’m finna be over here name-dropping for days man.” He name drops his mama twice.

I’ll leave you with a few more amazing quotes from the young rapper, as his repertoire of advice is unmatched:

On his work ethic: “I haven’t been home all 2020. Been working since fucking 12 o’clock December 31st.”

On dealing with negative criticism: “A hater gonna hate when he gonna hate, but guess what? We still gonna make big cake.”

On a requirement he looks for in people he works with: “Down to work, DTW.”

On 2020: “We shooting mother fucking movies dog. We shooting movies and taking down groupies all 2020 man.”

If you loved this episode of Monday to Monday and want to listen to Boyd chopping it up with more rappers/producers/managers, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he sat down with manager Adam Small. 

Episode 12: SauxePaxk TB & DJ E.Sudd
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sauxepaxk-tb-dj-e-sudd/id1489043136?i=1000466497255
Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Here’s How This Creative Entrepreneur Launched His Own Digital Agency While Balancing a 9-to-5

Modi Oyewole is the founder of a cutting-edge creative agency called Heating Up! The goal of the agency is to help tell cool and unique brand stories through a creative lens.

Oyewole has always been a sort of marketing maven. Previously he’s held roles at Nike, Complex, and Red Bull, to name a few. Now, while balancing a full-time job at Sony Music, he’s working to get this new endeavor off the ground, and it’s just starting to boil. 

We recently caught up with Oyewole where he gave us insight into how he got started, advice he’d tell his younger self, and how he keeps things hot. 

Macey J Foronda for ONE37pm
https://www.maceyjforonda.com/

ONE37pm: Tell me a little bit about how you started your agency, Heating Up.

Modi Oyewole: Between growing up in Washington D.C., attending college in Boston, working summer internships in New York, moving back home as an adult and eventually heading out west for job opportunities, I feel like I’ve developed a fairly diverse network of people across several industries. Most of my professional experiences have been at the intersection of entertainment and marketing, and once I got settled in LA, people from each of these eras of my life would often reach out about working together on freelance projects. I was just happy that people thought my opinion mattered and that I could add value to what they were doing. 

At the end of 2017, my girl Dana reached out to me about working on a project with Netflix and Complex to help produce and promote an event around Dave Chappelle’s new standup special in our hometown of DC. The real reason I started the company was to organize my taxes properly because I didn’t want to end up like Wesley Snipes. This wasn’t the first gig I had done, but it was definitely the biggest. It was also the first moment I realized that this could be a business in itself—helping brands connect with their target audience in a meaningful, authentic way.

Macey J Foronda for ONE37pm
https://www.maceyjforonda.com/

I have a group chat with some friends I used to work with at Nike, and we’d just keep each other up to date on stuff we were working on. It was kind of a term of endearment, you know? “Oh shit, you just dropped your own sneaker? You heating up!” I honestly don’t know who used it first, but we’re all big basketball fans and of course grew up on [the video game] NBA Jam, which is where the phrase actually comes from. After you hit two consecutive unanswered shots, the announcer says: “HE’S HEATING UP!” which essentially motivates the player to try and get a third consecutive shot. When that happens, the net burst into flames the announcer screams, “HE’S ON FIRE!” It’s just one of those things that if you played that video game, you’d understand. I just liked the phrase and figured it would work well for the name of a company.

The way I look at it, we’re always working on projects, so we’re not missing shots. We’re perpetually “heating up,” so to speak. Once I had that phrase, I figured I could do so many things with it creatively from a branding and marketing standpoint. It doesn’t just have to be an agency with services, but it could grow to be so much more—a lifestyle brand, essentially.

Back when I had just graduated from college, I was fascinated by the concept of influencer marketing. I used to take day trips from DC to New York to catch speaking engagements that this guy Coltrane Curtis was involved in. Coltrane founded a consumer marketing agency called Team Epiphany that was (and still is) super tapped into the spaces that I was most connected to: music, lifestyle and culture.

I’ve pretty much always had one foot in the corporate 9-to-5 world and one foot in entrepreneurship. After my friend and I started a radio show in college and evolved it into a successful music blog, we used that platform—as well as the relationships we’d fostered through that journey—to throw concerts in our hometown of Washington D.C. The first show we ever threw was in 2011 with Kendrick Lamar, but we also had full-time gigs, too.

Modi Oyewole

I was just happy that people thought my opinion mattered and that I could add value to what they were doing. 

Macey J Foronda for ONE37pm
https://www.maceyjforonda.com/

What’s the thing nobody tells you about running your own business?

Oyewole: I think the toughest part is just making sure that you’ve got the bandwidth to do everything. Don’t be afraid to hire people, delegate tasks, over-communicate and don’t think you have to say “yes” to everything, either.

If you’ve got one foot in the corporate world, it’s about balance and making sure you don’t run yourself into the ground trying to juggle everything. It’s important to take time for yourself, practice self-care, do what you need to do so you don’t feel overwhelmed and you still enjoy doing what you’re doing. And make sure you have somebody to help you with your money! An accountant or something. Oh, and be confident—90 percent of this shit is just having confidence in what you’re doing. I struggle with that often, but if you believe in yourself, you’ll win.

Macey J Foronda for ONE37pm
https://www.maceyjforonda.com/

What’s the vision for Heating Up? Ultimately where do you see it going from a 30,000-foot view?

Oyewole: I really want to focus on finding our niche, as far as our services are concerned. I don’t think we need to conquer the world necessarily, we just need to make sure we figure out what we do well and focus on building that out and becoming the leaders in that space. I think TV and film is a space where we could do really well. I’ve been working at Sony for over a year on the music side, but I’m on the lot, so I’m around a lot of the Sony Pictures folks and slowly starting to learn about that space. At the end of the day, I really want to continue to work with clients who understand what we bring to the table and who can keep us inspired by giving us work that’s challenging yet rewarding.

I also want to start developing products. Working at Nike, nearly every designer had passion projects that they worked on to keep inspired, and work actually encouraged it. I saw so many mind-blowing creations that these super-talented folks were cranking out, and it made me think about collaborating with some of them to make my own stuff.

Macey J Foronda for ONE37pm
https://www.maceyjforonda.com/

I actually just wrapped production on this candle that I developed with my friend Fabrice the other day. I made 200, sent a few out to the folks who hired me for gigs as a thank you and sold the rest. We’ve got around 20 left and we’ve only been on sale for three days. All I did was put up an IG post and some IG stories and its taken on a life of its own.

In the future, I’d love to do a proper rollout with a marketing plan and all that, but this was really just to see if there was an appetite for anything like that. Imagine if the products take on a life of their own, and the agency is secondary to the actual products? That’d be ideal. Lots of people I know have their own brands and are killing it, so I just want to figure out where we fit in within that space.

What advice would you give to someone who’s 18, trying to do what you’re doing?

Know that you have the power because you are the culture. Brands are looking at people like you to figure out how to connect with that demographic. You have insight, you have the knowledge, and it’s very, very valuable. Take advantage of that position you’re in.